Location: Santa Ana, California, United States

Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics and an admitted diet fanatic. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the effects of cultural forces and employment on the individual. The author of two interactive workbooks, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual and Diet With An Attitude: A Weight Loss Workbook, she also publishes a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge and various weight loss mini-courses. She can be reached at,, or

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Construction versus Destruction

The world has been revolted over the past few weeks of rioting and destruction unleashed by the ill-timed, tasteless, and insensitive publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

While the western idea that freedom of expression is sacrosanct is not shared by most of the world, the violence, anger, and hostility of the most recent demonstrations have shocked even those who have a deeper understanding of Islamic culture. To depict the Prophet in any form, even that of reverence and respect, is blasphemous. To mock him raises the same red flags as if African-Americans were confronted by widely disseminated Ku Klux Klan images of the "Black Terror" or Jews exposed to publications poking fun at the holocaust.

It is wounding, disrespectful, and divisive. Yet a western response to such provocation would likely be limited to noisy verbal debates or court action.

From the barbed wire and fences that dot the international landscape, from the corruption and absolute power of tyrants the west has supported, to the humiliation of armed occupation, refugee camps, and cultural marginalization, we have reaped the whirlwind. We have allowed generations to grow up with little devotion to anything but destruction. We have allowed the anger and resentment of the have-nots to fester and ferment. We have stood by and ignored a widening climate where there is no order but DISorder.

In the chaos of the endless street fighting, children have learned from experience that the rigors and boredom of going to school, of building a future, of creating a life of accomplishment and honor, are worthless and trivial in terrain where only power counts.

It takes years of planning and hard work to build something significant that can be razed to the ground in a few short hours. It is like children who spend hours with building blocks only to find their real joy in mindlessly knocking down everything they have created.

No matter what efforts are made by great individuals with the highest moral intentions, peace will not come suddenly and swords will not easily be transformed into plowshares. The forces that have produced the ugly face of violence and hatred so prominently displayed through the cracks in our civilized fa├žade, will not so quickly be redirected.

It will take an enormous effort - by the governments of peaceful lands, by the responsible citizens who abhor violence and bigotry, by the silent majority who tire of the death and destruction, and by leaders of all backgrounds and faiths, to start the long process of cooling down, healing, and rebuilding. It will take all of us working together with our eyes clearly set on the goal of peace and prosperity, without interference from our own political agendas and dogmatic creeds.

The future is counting on us to make such a joint effort, even as we continue to fight among ourselves over differences in words and ideas that are unimportant to the long view of history and the ultimate survival of the human race.


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